Spirit of Grace Ministries
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Spirit of Grace Ministries
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My Story

 

Dennis Pollock

by Dennis Pollock

I grew up in a typical Leave it to Beaver household. My two parents, my sister, and I made up one of the millions of middle class American post-WWII families enjoying the prosperity and relative normalcy of the fifties and early sixties. We loved the Andy Griffith Show on TV, took great pride in our “transistor radios” which (amazingly) we could carry with us wherever we went, and got up early in the morning to listen to radio reports of the launching of those first manned space flights. Keds tennis shoes were worn by all the cool kids, and Silly Putty was one of the most desirable cheap toys a kid could have. Teachers ruled with absolute authority in their classrooms and parents were well content to have it so.

I enjoyed school in my early days, but of course no self-respecting boy would admit that so I kept it a secret. I got good grades, conscientiously did my homework, and hardly ever got into trouble. Our family went to church more than most. Not only did we attend on Sunday mornings, but usually Sunday evenings, and frequently on Wednesday and Saturday evenings as well. Although first sermonI figured out that most of my school buddies’ families didn’t seem to take church as seriously as our family did, it didn’t really bother me in those days. It was the way things were and seemed natural, though a little tiresome.

 A New Wind Blowing 

In the latter part of the sixties America began to experience some pretty radical changes, and so did I. I was entering puberty about the time America was entering that revolutionary period of her history marked by protests, long hair, drugs, and rebellion. The Greatest Generation was being confronted with the Restless Generation. As the simplicity of my elementary school days morphed into the complexity of my teen years, I soon began to drift with the current that was sweeping America’s youth toward dangerous new frontiers of attitudes and lifestyles.

I found I could get passing grades in school without studying. Of course they were no longer A’s but that really didn’t matter. I found more and more reasons to skip church and by my late teens had limited my church attendance to the obligatory Christmas and Easter services. I began to question not only the church but the very nature of God. The idea of a holy God looking upon my carnal and selfish life with disapproval wasn’t particularly appealing, and it was much more convenient to doubt that such a God existed at all. 

Both my teachers and the scientists on television were telling me that the creation story of the Bible was a myth, and that evolution, not creation, was how all things came to be. Like most youth I had decided my parents were old-fashioned and unsophisticated, and I surely must look elsewhere for the answers to my questions about life’s meaning and origin. I don’t know just when but somewhere in my late teens I became an agnostic. I had enough sense to know I could not definitely disprove the reality of God, but I felt I had no reason to believe in Him and it seemed simpler and a whole lot more liberating to live as a skeptic. 

College Daze 

When I entered college my life spiraled further downhill. I was quickly caught up in the beer parties and had my first taste of marijuana. Soon, other harder drugs followed. I let my hair grow long and plunged into the counter-culture. As in high school I hardly studied and was content to get C’s in my classes. My dad, when coming to see me on parents’ day, went home and wrote me a letter. He chided me for my lifestyle (though he didn’t know the half of it) and quoted an adage I have never forgotten: “The path of least resistance makes men and rivers crooked.” Defensively I wrote back and attempted to justify myself, but of course in truth he was dead-on. Pleasure had become my god, and how to get it, my religion. 

Somewhere in the midst of all of this I had come across a book about the life of Edgar Cayce, one of America’s most prominent psychics of the early twentieth century. Cayce had the remarkable ability to lay down and go into a trance, in which he could give people “readings” – a personal and detailed diagnosis of their medical conditions and ailments. He would then go on to “prescribe” home remedies which would invariably bring about a cure. As Cayce’s accuracy and success became known he became a popular phenomenon, and was sought out by people from all over the nation, seeking healing. After limiting himself to comments about the physical body in the early years, Cayce later began to branch out and speak on metaphysical concepts, especially concerning reincarnation. While he professed to respect the Bible, his views on reincarnation and his teachings about God (the uncaused cause), which strongly resembled pantheism, strayed completely from orthodox Christian doctrine. 

As I read of Cayce’s interpretation of how God created the earth by means of evolution, I was instantly hooked. Here was a religious view that combined science with religion, and seemed a whole lot cooler than the fundamentalist views of God and the Bible I had learned as a child. Lying on my bed and reading Cayce, I could hardly contain my excitement. Now I knew the secrets of the universe! What made Cayce especially believable was that he even used the Bible to justify his concepts, frequently quoting the Scriptures during his “readings.” 

My life did not change. I still used drugs, chased the girls, and lived for self. But now I had a philosophy that made me feel infinitely superior to the Christians who clung to the archaic, primitive religion of their parents and grandparents.  

Somehow it wasn’t enough. Although my mind embraced Cayce and his new age views fully, my spirit was still restless. I read other popular far-out books that professed to offer explanations to the questions of life. One of the books was titled “Chariots of the Gods” which suggested that life on earth and its great civilizations and religions were originated and influenced by ancient space travelers. One of the evidences given comes out of the book of Ezekiel where Ezekiel sees a vision of God and reports seeing a “wheel within a wheel,” which according to the author was part of the spacecraft these cosmic travelers arrived in. 

“When it pleased God…” 

After reading of these attempts to support their various theories with Scripture I made a life-transforming decision (although I didn’t realize it at the time). I decided to read the Bible for myself and see what it had to say. Of course Christians had tried to witness to me at school but I was much too proud and stubborn to listen to anything they had to say. In my mind the Bible-believing Christians were losers who had so little going on in their lives they turned to religion.

When I returned to college after Christmas break in my sophomore year, I took with me the little black Bible my dad had given me when I was around twelve years old. I had sat down and read ten or twelve chapters the first day I had it. Then it was put down and I don’t think I had read it since. Now at nineteen it was with me in my dorm room. I had no idea how powerful that little, black, King James Bible would prove to be.

Though I had gone to church as a child I was almost completely ignorant of the Bible. I started in the New Testament and read through the gospel of Matthew. I was impressed with Jesus. It was hard to find fault with this Man who healed the sick, blessed the children, and died on our behalf. When I got to Mark I was surprised to find that it was a retelling of the life of Jesus, using many of the same stories I had read in Matthew.

There was no one to argue with in my little dorm room, no Bible-believing Christians to despise, and with my guard down a bit, I found, almost in spite of myself, that I was starting to admire Jesus. I wondered what I would find in Luke, and to my surprise it was yet another retelling of the life of Jesus, and once again with many of the same stories I had been reading in the first two books. With John’s gospel most of the stories were different, but it was still all about Jesus. By the time I had finished the twenty-first chapter of John I had a pretty good idea of who Jesus was and what He was like. I found myself mysteriously drawn toward Him. I had no idea at that time that there was in fact Someone in my room who was doing the drawing – the Holy Spirit of whom Jesus said, “He will testify of Me.”college age Dennis

As I read through the rest of the New Testament I found myself actually enjoying it. I had decided to read five chapters each day, but I could hardly keep to the schedule. I would finish five and find I wasn’t willing to stop and had to read at least another five chapters. It began to dawn on me that there might be far more to this evangelical Christianity than I had supposed, and that the God of the Bible just might be real after all. For the first time in years I began to pray little, tentative prayers to this God I wasn’t sure existed. These were definitely not prayers of faith. They were more like trial balloons sent up just to see if there might be a loving Deity to respond. Amazingly some of these prayers received speedy and definite answers. 

From Skeptic to Believer 

The Scriptures tell us that faith comes by hearing God’s word, and faith was definitely coming. I had started the New Testament as a total skeptic and before I got to Revelation I was submitting my life to Christ to do with me as He chose. I continued to try to hold onto the doctrine of reincarnation for a season, trying to somehow reconcile an evangelical Christian walk with Jesus with a new age theology. But my days as a new-ager were numbered. As I grew closer to Jesus and read more of the Scriptures I began to see what a huge gulf existed between the two perspectives.

When I first gave up reincarnation it was for pragmatic reasons. I reasoned that if the new-agers were right and the evangelicals were wrong, the evangelicals were still in good shape. By living morally and following Jesus’ command to love even their enemies, they were surely racking up lots of good karma for the next go-around. But if the evangelicals were right and the new-agers were wrong, the new-agers were in big trouble. By focusing upon trying to do good, but refusing to believe in the new birth they were on their way to hell. I finally concluded it was a lot safer to throw in my lot with the evangelicals, and burned all my Cayce books. Somehow the act of burning those books seemed to have a spiritual effect and clear up my fuzzy thinking. In just a few weeks I saw clearly the truth of the evangelical perspective and the error of the new-agers. I came to recognize that “it is given to man once to die, and after that, the judgment.” The one thing Cayce and the other new-agers couldn’t say much about was the cross. If reincarnation is the truth, then the cross was pointless. We can all just work our way, through many successive lives, to perfection.

The Bible does not proclaim justification by reincarnation. It proclaims justification by faith in Jesus and His finished work at Calvary. Jesus’ death on the cross is the only means God has given for the forgiveness of our sins. And His resurrection was for our justification – no future lives required!

Decades have come and gone since those tumultuous days of the Viet Nam War, the hippies, the Beatles, and bell-bottom pants. I can say along with John Newton, “Through many dangers, toils, and snares I have already come. Twas grace that brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home!”

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Missions Outreach


A major part of Spirit of Grace Ministries is our ministry in the great continent of Africa. There is a tremendous harvest going on in the world these days, and we are privileged to be a part of it. Above is a brief music video featuring video clips and pics from our recent mission in Magodes, Uganda.

Audio Devo: "Why is there suffering?"

People have debated this question for millennia. And we cannot speak concerning specific individual questions of suffering, but the Bible clearly speaks as to why suffering has always been a part of the human experience.